12/16/2010 2:12PM

HandiGambling 214 (FG Turf)


Today's HandiGambling 214 exercise is the eighth race from Fair Grounds, a 'n2x' event with an optional claiming price of $40,000 at one mile on the turf. 

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan." Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.  Past performances are available at the previous blog post.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please. I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

As of this writing, the turf course is labeled as GOOD.

This week's HandiGambling race is a contentious one with several runners in with a good chance. 

#10 JOINEM seems very logical.  A lightly-raced three-year-old by Johar, Joinem hasn't run a bad race yet.  Last time out, at Keeneland, Joinem rallied stoutly (last quarter in 23.04) to finish behind the promising Turallure (returned to finish third in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs with a 91 Beyer) while defeating Rescue Squad (came back to finish second in the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct with a 94 Beyer).  Today's additional distance should hit Joinem squarely between the eyes, but the lack of pace in this race, as well as the far outside post position, could work against him.  Still, he may have the most upside of any horse in this race, and is taken to run them down in the stretch.

#8 TIGHT GRIP, a $300,000 yearling back in 2005, was privately purchased by Louie Roussel last summer, and has amassed a 7-2-2-1 turf record for his new owner.  He showed dogged determination when going gate-to-wire at this level three starts back at Arlington, and could be on or near easy fractions once again in this spot.  He's run well fresh in the past, but there is a 20-day gap on the tab, and I didn't love the way he finished up his most recent race (admittedly against better - five of the six horses to return from that August 21 race came back to hit the board including next-out Grade 3 stakes-winner Gran Estreno).  He should be prominent when the field swings into the stretch and can't be taken lightly under Rosie Napravnik.

#3 ICE CLIMBER may have some upside as a three-year-old tackling elders, but I wonder if he'll react negatively to returning on only 19 days rest following a hard-fought, career-best effort.  He seems to run best with some cut in the ground so he may appreciate the "Good" going this afternoon.  The Team Block runners have been firing at this meet and Ice Climber merits a price chance if he continues to improve.

I've been following #7 BRENTWOOD BULLET since his fourth-place finish in the John Henry Stakes at Evangeline on April 17.  That day, he did not receive a good ride from Eddie Martin Jr.  Instead of settling into the pocket position behind a pair of dueling longshots, Martin hustled Brentwood Bullet to duel with those two horses while widest on the course.  He put away his pace rivals on the far turn, and was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths in course record time.  In his three subsequent outings, he's been taken back off the pace to no avail.  Perhaps, Robby Albarado will send Brentwood Bullet to the front in this spot, and the Broken Vow gelding has run well over "good" Fair Grounds turf in the past. 

#1 GANGBUSTER has back class as he won the $100,000 Fort Harrod Stakes at Keeneland last April, and was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Marathon on synthetic in 2009.  He seems well-spotted at this class level, but the late-runner could be up against it from a pace standpoint.

#2 DR. ALEX defeated Gangbuster last time out and he should get the jump on that one once again from midpack range.  Trained by Al Stall Jr., Dr. Alex had run well this form cycle, and could work out a good ground-saving, pace-tracking trip behind the speeds. 

#4 MOUNTAIN JUSTICE has done his best running on this course, but he finished well behind Joinem at Keeneland on October 10.  Expect him to be closer to the pace this afternoon, but he hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in his last four turf outings.

#5 BRAD'S MY HERO is another runner with no early speed.  He'll make his first start for trainer Helen Pitts after competing in New York for Mark Hennig.  He seems to be in his best form, but I'm not sure there's a ton of upside for a four-year-old colt that already has 18 races in the bag.  A slow pace works against him.

#6 ROCK HARD seems better suited to the main track than turf.  He's yet to crack the exacta in four grassy tries, and was never involved when well behind Ice Climber two starts back at Arlington. 

#9 PRECIOUS COLONY earned a good figure three back at Retama, but he tripped out that day, saving ground behind a quick pace before easing out on the far turn.  He hasn't done much in his subsequent two starts, but is tactical enough to be in a solid stalking position while racing in the clear. 

Here's how I'll play it for HandiGambling:

$40 Exacta - Joinem/Tight Grip (10-8)
$40 Exacta - Joinem/Ice Climber (10-3)
$20 Exacta - Joinem/Brentwood Bullet (10-7)

Best of luck to all.

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Van Savant May I crash your dinner plans this weekend? PLEASE....Sounds lovely..Do enjoy! And your sentiment about the pocketful of time we have, and how/what we can change...Well, it is just priceless, and it hit home. ____________________________________________________________________ Blackstone LOL! You are terrific.. I'll be in touch later, as I am once again on 'The Road again' I'll catch up after the Christmas Holiday . Best wishes to you and all your critters :)
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Dale Please accept my sincere condolences to you and all the family at this time.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Patrick , This is advice not a knock . If you bet 10 10-1 shots and hit 1 (unlikely) you'll have bet $20 and returned $22. If you bet 10 3-1 shots and hit 3 (not unlikely) the $20 will be $24. As far as 10 horses and wanting 10-1 goes its not quite like that because 5 or 6 of the runners lost before they were entered in most cases. Now , all longshots are overbet in relation to their true probabilty of winning . Favorites are underbet in relation to their true probability. If you ONLY bet the favorite all the time you'll lose about 5-6 % which means you'll beat the take-out by a considerable amount but still lose. If you only bet 5-1 shots you'll lose more . If you only bet 10-1 shots you'll lose more still and so on. REREAD THAT. You need to have a mix and be good to win at the races. If you insist on not taking less than 5-1 or not betting the favorite . THAN YOU WILL LOSE unless you skip most of the races and have a knack for knowing when not to skip. I'm not saying longshots never happen they do. I've had plenty of them , but if a 5/2 easy winner isn't good enough for you and you would prefer to lose on an 8-1 shot in the same race, than you'll lose in the long run. I'm not calling you a loser. I'm stating the way that it is. Type in "the favorite longshot bias" and press search . When you're done reading it decide if you are a risk-lover and don't care if you're going to lose or if you just didn't know that you were bound to lose with that philosophy and you would like to be a winner if you can learn how. A question for everyone to answer for themselves . Why do horseplayers think they have to have long odds in order to win ? Do they expect 20-1 when they gamble on stocks or are they happy when they get 1-10 ? Now don't a bunch of people start telling patrick that I'm giving him bad advice. Because this is the best @#$%$#@ advice he's ever going to get when it comes to not being a loser at the track.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
P ensign......sorry I misread, but since it was my idea originally I reckon you're right. BSB......I'll check those numbers for you, I was at a Christmas party and am too tired now. I will though tell you, yes it is hard picking through the races, as to Beyer's I don't use them, I don't look at them for that matter. Horses with the 4th or 5th best Beyer's winning a race are probably not as frequent as the winners with the #1 and 2 beyers......in all races combined....even on turf. The races I play lend themselves to just the opposite happening. It's why I say I have criteria......I look for a certain type of race. A race where the horse I like has to have upside, while the favorites have to be suspect. It doesn't happen alot....think about it....I've posted 15-20 winners out of about 25 races, 25 races from May to November. 7 months.......with an average of 4 turf races a day for example that's about 420 races......I picked 25 that fit the bill. 20 winners, 25 races. I'd say I have honed it a bit over the years. Most folks can't do that......tell them they'd have 25 chances out of 420 races and they couldn't do it.....no discipline. The reason I can is because to me it's about making money, not the pat on then back or being the best handicapper. In fact my criteria is so ingrained in what I do that most times if a race doesn't fit I haven't a clue.......but I don't care, That's Dan's job....he gets paid for it......I only get paid when I win. Mike A
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Aqueduct 8th Mesa Sunrise scratched-rats. Still an interesting race- The Bet #3 Endless Circle ATB and boxed to Ravalo Way too much speed in this race, so I'm hoping they set it up for the two horses that have shown the ability to consistently do well off the pace (although both of those show speed sometimes, too). I normally don't do well on the Inner, but this one is a fun one that I can't pass up. Nothing would surprise me in this race-even Ju Jitsu Jax-other than if I get it right. In the end, I think Rudy's got the best horse. Good luck to those of you playing this one.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Mike A Fatherly advice-stay off the sauce , my man. I know you know better. I'm still hoping to make the MKB Draw (hope so, Annie), so maybe we'll talk tomorrow. Sparkling Cider seems to be the hot non-alcoholic drink of choice for now-can't stand that either. Tencent, blackseabass, Curt Thank you all for responding to my plea for help at Holly-imagine, a grown man crying-that's me. I appreciate all of you trying. Tencent-are we married or something. My first two picks in PH this morning-Rustler to Industry Leader. Hope we stay married by the end of the day. bsb-I'll look forward top your posts. Curt-you are absolutely right-I should stay away from the race. My personal problem remains discipline-once I handicap a race I have a really hard time walking away. I keep thinking-what if I'm right, what if I'm right. Can you imagine a grown man crying-oops, said that already. 0-43? I have mixed feelings about the number. I'll post a longie on it in a day or two. Very short version: like Curt, the number is HUGE and is hard to ignore. On the other hand, I am certain bsb is correct in that you have to answer a few questions-first-about the probabilities of that batch of 43 winning any of the races. More later-I know all of you can't wait. Good luck to all of you. In spite of my poor behavior lately, for which Curt has forgiven me (thank goodness), I love this Blog.
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
caught lettermans monologue last night and loved the joke about the OTBs closing in NY. he said that is the only bookie to ever lose money in the game of betting. also good interview with Deniro and Hoffman. sorry to be off topic all. still have worm in com. have to sign off. good luck all
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
Tencent, I also like Rustler Hustler. Van Savant, I like Slammer Time too. Both of them are my long shot picks. I think that Comma To The Top will be tough and you have to keep an eye on Industry leader too. http://classicchampionthoroughbreds.blogspot.com/2010/12/cashcall-futurity-stakes-racing-roundup.html
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
Dale, I'm sorry to hear about your loss.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Annie Still recruiting for the MKB are we? billie-see 12/17/10 @ 8:08 pm. good luck!